Father pleads guilty to indecent liberties

Published 11:33 pm Friday, May 4, 2007

By Staff
Will serve eight months in prison; three years probation
Staff Writer
A Pantego man, charged with sex offenses against his daughter, pleaded guilty Thursday morning in Beaufort County Superior Court to five counts of indecent liberties with a minor and will serve eight months in prison.
Murphy Todd Respess, 43, was arrested in October 2005 and charged with statutory sex offense-parental role and one count of taking indecent liberties with a minor, according to previous reports.
The statutory sex-offense charge was dropped and four more charges of indecent liberties were added Thursday, said District Attorney Seth Edwards.
Judge Alma Hinton gave Respess a suspended sentence. With structured sentencing, each count carries a minimum 16 to 20 months in prison, but the judge suspended all of them and placed him on probation for three years. As part of a special condition, he has to serve eight months in prison, according to Edwards. “Four months for two of the five counts,” he said. Prosecutors sought more jail time for him, Edwards said.
The acts toward his daughter started when she was 14 years old and continued until she was 17, Edwards said. “It first came to light in August 2005,” he said.
The mother, Alana Respess, made a statement in court Thursday, pushing for an active sentence. Edwards said, “She told the judge that the defendant had controlled her and her children and was continuing to manipulate the younger kids.”
Respess has four children. The oldest is 19 and is the victim in this case. He has two daughters under the age of 13 and a 5-year-old son, Edwards said.
Attorneys Wayland Sermons Jr. and Douglas Parsons represented Respess in court. “It is a case where there are no winners,” Sermons said. “Today’s judgments were a conclusion, but this situation will go on in the lives of this family.”